A Poem by Susanna Moodie

Offspring of heaven, fair Freedom! impart
The light of thy spirit to quicken each heart.
Though the chains of oppression our free limbs ne’er bound,
Bid us feel for the wretch round whose soul they are wound;
Whose breast is corroded with anguish so deep
That the eye of the slave is too blood-shot to weep;
No balm from the fountain of nature will flow
When the mind is degraded by fetter and blow.

The friends of humanity nobly have striven,
But the bonds of the heart-broken slave are unriven!
Whilst Religion extends o’er those champions her shield,
May they never to party or prejudice yield
The glorious cause by all freemen espoused.
A light shines abroad and the lion is roused;
The crush of the iron has struck fire from the stone;
Bid them back to the charge–and the field is their own!

Ye children of Britain! brave sons of the Isles!
Who revel in freedom and bask in her smiles,
Can ye sanction such deeds as are done in the West
And sink on your pillows untroubled to rest?
Are your slumbers unbroken by visions of dread?
Does no spectre of misery glare on your bed?
No cry of despair break the silence of night
And thrill the cold hearts that ne’er throbbed for the right?

Are ye fathers,–nor pity those children bereaved
Of the birth-right which man from his Maker received?
Are ye husbands,–and blest with affectionate wives,
The comfort, the solace, the joy of your lives,–
And feel not for him whom a tyrant can sever
From the wife of his bosom and children for ever?
Are ye Christians, enlightened with precepts divine,
And suffer a brother in bondage to pine?
Are ye men, whom fair freedom has marked for her own,
Yet listen unmoved to the negro’s deep groan?

Ah no!–ye are slaves!–for the freeborn in mind
Are the children of mercy, the friends of mankind:
By no base, selfish motive their actions are weighed;
They barter no souls in an infamous trade;
They eat not the bread which is moistened by tears,
And carelessly talk of the bondage of years;–
They feel as men should feel;–the clank of the chain
Bids them call upon Justice to cleave it in twain!–